The festive frenzy of Kolkata heightened with the arrival of Mahasaptami as the main rituals associated with the Durga Puja commences on this day.
On Mahasaptami, some important rituals of the puja are performed with 'Nabapatrika snan' or 'Kolabou snan' (bathing of banana bride) and 'pravesh' (entrance of Goddess in the mandap-the place of worship) at dawn.
The stem of a banana plant is bathed and draped in a red and white saree that make it look like a newly wed bride and then placed beside Lord Ganesha as 'Kalabou' is considered to be his wife according to Hindu mythology.
Kalabou is also known as another form of Durga. It is with the ritual bathing of Kalabou that the puja starts on Mahasaptami day. In the scriptures Kalabou is also called Nabapatrika which can be linked to the worship by the peasants for good harvest during autumn and when idol worship was not in practice.
While Nabapatrika, which comprises nine plants including Kalagaach (Banana Plant), later was integrated with the Durga Puja, it is said to be the oldest form of worship.
Meanwhile, the entire city was busy celebrating the night of Mahashasti as they hopped from one pandal (marquees) to another to take an eyeful of the beauty and exclusiveness of each idol and decoration.
Long queues were spotted in front of the popular restaurants of the city. The road side food stalls gave them a tough competition in drawing certain section of the crowd who wanted to save time by having some quick ready made foods.
From Suruchi Sangha in the South to Ahiritola in the North, people spent endless hours to catch a glimpse of the pandals and their creativity.
The picture was same in other popular pujas of the city like Behala Natun Dal, Ekdalia Evergreens, Singhi Park Sarbojonin Durgautsov, Badamtala Ashar Sangha, Bagbazar Sarbojonin, College Square.
Traffic snarls and slow movements of vehicles were reported across various parts of the city.
The madness and the rush is expected to increase from Mahasaptami as Kolkata and West Bengal will step into the main phase of the puja from Friday.
--IBNS (Posted on 11-10-2013)